Small-Scale Medicinal Herb Farming: A (Very) Personal Journey


| 7/31/2013 5:04:00 PM


Tags: herbalism, herb csa, Raven Crest Botanicals, New York, Susanna Raeven,

It's been quite a ride and it is still going at a high speed. From the moment of realization that the world ofGreenhouse Turned Drying House healing herbs was calling me, to my first herbal class, to running a small-scale herb farm that grows medicinal herbs with organic methods, to creating artisan herbal products, and finally to working with clients to help them find balance in their lives with the generous support of the plant kingdom. A ride with many joyous moments, but also doubts, insecurities, and cloudy days. 

It all started with a trip to the Peruvian Amazon and the deep, out of the blue intuition that I wanted to study the healing powers of plants.  So off I went to my first herbal training with Ursula Basch at “Herbal Bear – School of Botanical Medicine”. What I remember most about this period is how unbelievably “right” it felt to be a plant student, the sheer joy I experienced when learning to identify medicinal plants and mushrooms in the field, and the wonder I felt when I discovered that everything I ever needed to get rid of my pharmaceutical medicine cabinet was growing right in my back yard. More herbal training followed with Tieraona Low Dog and Richard Mandelbaum, amongst others, all inspiring and excellent teachers.

Botanicals Market StandAfter having lived in New York City for 15 years, it was time for a change. I decided to leave the big city behind and moved full time to Schoharie county in upstate NY. We are fortunate to own 250 acres of forested hills and rolling cow pastures, home to a wide variety of wild medicinal herbs. Little by little, I made friends with all of them.

Soon I was making my own herbal creations, showering friends and family members with homemade lotions and potions. Not long after, people started asking for refills and the overwhelming feedback inspired me to produce on a larger scale, offering my products at retreat centers and small local stores.

How do you make the transition from making home remedies in recycled jam jars on your kitchen counter to producing sufficient amounts to send products to recurring clients and fill whole display shelves and tables with herbal goods?

I am the type of person that walks away from a healthy buffet with a plate filled with a bit of everything, rather than serving myself just one or two items. I like to try it all. So I started taking on everything at once until nothing fit on my plate anymore. Then I went to get another plate.


susanne
2/27/2014 11:57:44 AM

I love this article and am having a similar ride with the devic kingdom of medicinal plants. Susanna Raeven blazes a wonderful trail as to how to proceed within this modality and I send many thanks and blessings her way. Would love to see photos of the greenhouses she mentions and would also love to learn more of her farm. Thanks from the high mountain canyons of the Sangre de Cristos.




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